Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baseball and Toads

Last night I was privileged to watch my oldest child play baseball.  My dad came to watch the game as well.

Baseball is more confusing than I had originally thought.  Apparently, the first foul ball you hit is a strike, but only if it’s the first or maybe second strike.  I think.  Also, if a runner is on second and there’s a pop up, he (or she!) can not progress to third until the ball is caught.  And if the catcher drops the ball after the pitcher throws it to him, the ball is considered in play and the runner can advance bases, but it’s not stealing.  Stealing is when the pitcher is holding on to the ball. 

No one, not even God, knows what a balk is.

“I don’t know as much about baseball as I thought I did,” I admitted to my dad.

“Quite frankly, I’m alarmed at how little you know,” he said. 

Caleb pitched for the first time last night, and during the second inning, he struck out three kids in a row.  I am proud as a peacock and a little hard to be around at the moment.  Caleb also hit a kid in the foot, but that kid never made it home, so it didn’t really matter.  I mean home in the baseball sense, not the physical embodiment of a dwelling place sense.  No harm, no foul. 

We came home, everyone had a popsicle, and went to bed.  I let Kiah out to go to the bathroom and then went out on the deck to escort her back in the house.  Kiah demands an escort.  She previously used her end-of-the-night bathroom break to play the “let’s chase me around the yard like a looney-bird” game, but although she can still gain speed when need be, the lack of her front leg has made sudden turns and playful bounds difficult for her.  She understands this and no longer waits for me to come within two feet of her before she laughs like a hyena and vanishes into the night.  Instead, she stands submissively and allows me to lead her back inside.  This new routine has honestly been a lot easier on my nerves.  My blood pressure has gone down and I swear a lot less. 

When it rains, all the toads come out, hopping around like they own the backyard.  In an effort not to step on one last night, I slipped on the deck and fell into a puddle as Kiah looked on and the toad hopped precariously close to the entrance of my house.  I blacked out for at least twenty minutes.

That’s not true.  I did not black out at all.  I added that for dramatic effect.  In fact, I was fine, although quite damp.  While I lay there, stretched out on the slick deck, Kiah galumphed over my legs, went into the house, and jumped with muddy feet onto the beige couch.

Sometimes I don’t like her. 

I don’t like toads lately, either. 

I do like baseball.  In the late hours of the evening, I changed into my comfy pajamas and climbed into bed.  I had just begun to read a book when I heard Caleb talking in his sleep.


I can only assume he was having baseball dreams and was blissfully unaware of his mother’s close encounter with a brazen toad.  If he had been awake, he would probably have pronounced me out and Kiah safe at home.  Because that’s the way you think when you’ve got nothing but baseball on your mind. 

Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball. ~Pete Hamill


Dad said...

Holly, let me try again.

If Caleb hits a foul ball on the first pitch thrown to him, it counts as a strike.

If he hits a foul ball when he already has one strike, it counts as a second strike.

But if he hits any more foul balls after he has two strikes, the foul balls don’t count as anything at all. No matter how many foul balls Caleb might hit, he’ll still have two strikes.

This could go on for a long time if Caleb were really good at hitting foul balls. And some kids are good at it. In kids’ baseball and softball leagues, there’s usually a rule that if you hit more than, say, four foul balls in a row, you’re out.

But in high school, college, and professional baseball, you can hit as many foul balls as you want with two strikes on you. That’s how good hitters like Andrew McCutchen can sometimes manage to see as many as a dozen pitches in a single at-bat. They keep fouling off pitches they don’t like and wear the pitcher down.

You would know this if you’d read The Kid Who Batted 1.000, which is a book I tried to get you to read when you were a girl. It’s about a teenager who has such an uncanny knack for hitting foul balls that a major-league team signs him up. Since no pitcher can strike him out, pitchers just walk him intentionally so they don’t waste their energies throwing pitches that he will hit foul. The kid gets on base every time.

On Amazon this book is a $98 collector’s item, but I would be happy to lend Caleb my old paperback copy.


Holly said...

I don't get it.

Dad said...

I was afraid of that.

Moira Haag said...

LOL - love you guys!